June 9, 2017
On Jan. 24, Abel Falcon Protiva was born with a rare heart defect. His arduous journey during these past few months at Children’s Hospital in Omaha have inspired many, including hundreds of votes in WoodmenLife's Falcon Naming Contest.
Abel’s Mom, Wendy Wees, submitted the four winning names: ABEL, IsABEL, AdorABEL, and CapABEL
"We watched the falcons hatch while we were in the hospital waiting on a heart while his heart was failing," she said.
Even better than winning the contest, obviously:
"Abel Falcon Protiva got a new heart on May 19 and we go home on Saturday!" she said recently.
As the Naming Contest winner, Abel and his family will be invited to the falcon banding at the WoodmenLife Tower next year and will receive a framed photo of the falcon chicks.
Coincidentally, the four falcon babies were banded on May 19, the same day of Abel’s heart transplant. The falcon chicks were given a health check by representatives of Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery Nebraska and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. These experts also determined the genders: all four chicks are female.
WoodmenLife hosted its annual falcon chick-naming contest on the organization’s Facebook business page. The contest began immediately following the banding and gender determination. Fans entered groups of four names, and five finalist name groups were determined by an internal WoodmenLife Committee. The finalists were re-posted on the Facebook page, and the winner was determined by popular fan votes.
This is the 29th year in which peregrine falcons have chosen to nest atop the WoodmenLife Tower and produce offspring, totaling 99 hatched chicks. The current father, Mintaka, has made the WoodmenLife Tower his home for the past five years. The mother, Charity, has been residing on the Tower for three years.
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